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Yearender: Armstrong admits to doping as more star athletes fall foul

English.news.cn   2013-12-18 13:00:20            

By Sportswriter Ma Xiangfei

BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong eventually confessed to his long time use of banned drugs while more high-profile doping scandals hit the headlines from time to time.

Armstrong, stripped of seven Tour de France titles and banned for life last year, had denied any wrong-doping until January this year when he confessed to use of EPO, human growth hormone and steroids in the Oprah talk show.

The 42-year-old was the most famous but not the only cyclist to break "the code of silence".

Denmark's Michael Rasmussen, Dutch Michael Boogerd, Australia's six-time Olympian Stuart O'Grady and 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich of Germany all owned up to their guilt.

Cycling wasn't the only sport wracked by doping.

Tyson Gay, men's 100m second-fastest sprinter in history, and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell and his Jamaican compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown, two-time women's 200m Olympic champion, all tested positive for performance enhancing substances, filling a list of athletics Who's Who.

Seven positive drug cheats, including one finalist, were caught at the Moscow athletics world championships.

Also caught this year were London Olympics 1,500m champion Asli Cakir Alptekin and double European 100m hurdles winner Nevin Yanit, both from Turkey, the country which banned more than 30 track and field athletes in 2013, as well as a number of Russians.

World athletics chief Lamine Diack had to admit track and field had been "stigmatized" by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Doping rocked baseball, too.

Major League Baseball suspended 13 players including Alex Rodriguez, the sport's highest-paid player and one of the best hitters.

Rodriguez was given a 211-game ban, the longest ever handed out by MLB, and it could cost him 36 million U.S. dollars in pay if the ban is upheld.

Rising number of high-profile doping cases press for better doping control measures as WADA sat down with various anti-doping organizations and government representatives to pass a revised World Anti-Doping Code in November.

The revised code, going into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, raised the ban from two years to four for the first offense, making sure drug cheats will be kept out of at least one Olympics.

"I certainly hope that the higher sanctions become a much more regular fact of life," said IOC vice president Craig Reedie who was chosen to replace John Fahey to head WADA for the next eight years.

WADA is also pushing to catch drug cheats by pursuing investigations and gathering intelligence, along with the traditional blood and urine tests.

The new code needs coordination and legal support from WADA's member countries and regions, according to Rune Anderson, head of WADA's Standards and Harmonization Department, who has also warned anti-doping authorities of insufficiency of domestic laws.

"They have to look thoroughly into their legislation to see whether it is sufficient to cover issues that the code and the UNESCO Convention require," he said.

China, which caught the first doper through biological passport in September, is looking for more legal support in its anti-doping campaign.

China is about to issue a new set of doping-control measures according to the revised WADA code, to back up the nation's anti-doping regulations implemented in 2004.

Editor: Yamei Wang
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